Klipsch set about developing its Reference Series around the idea that top-notch fidelity need not come with a top-tier price tag. The result of the vaunted audio company’s efforts is a line of products that redefine the notion of bang-for-your buck value. Indeed, just a few short years ago, you’d have to lay down at least $1,000 to get the sort of refined, high-impact sound Klipsch’s new Reference Series sound bar delivers for just $600.
While the R-10B doesn’t include cutting-edge features like HDMI inputs and outputs (sorry, no ARC here) or a fancy digital display, it delivers where it counts in the form of potent performance. The sound bar itself is armed with Klipsch’s proprietary Tractrix Horn technology, which allows its dual 3/4-inch textile dome tweeters to put out clean, sparkling treble that’s full of detail, but never harsh, and well dispersed throughout the room for poignant stereo effects. Next to each of those horn-loaded tweeters is a 3-inch woofer that punches well above its weight. That may not sound like a lot of speakers, but what Klipsch manages to do with them is pretty remarkable. Perhaps the system’s total power rating of 250 watts has something to do with it.
Surprisingly, the real star of this sound bar show isn’t actually the sound bar itself; it’s the 8-inch wireless subwoofer included in the package. Typically, subwoofers included in all-in-one solutions like this are the weakest link, but in the case of the R-10B, the opposite is true. In all our time reviewing one-box sound solutions, we’ve never seen a subwoofer so solidly built, nor have we heard one that kept the bass tight and musical at all time. Crave that chest-pounding punch that can only come from a well-made sub? This system will deliver.
For connections, the R-10B allows a digital optical connection for a single wire solution that keeps things simple. For wireless music streaming, Klipsch has also armed the R-10B with a Bluetooth connection. One can also use a supplied pair of analog RCA inputs to accommodate nearly any other audio device. Other features for the R-10B include digital signal processing to create a 3-D surround mode, as well as the usual Dolby Digital decoding.